The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century, the direct ancestors of the majority of the modern British people. They comprise people from Germanic tribes who migrated to the island from continental Europe, their descendants, indigenous British groups who adopted many aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture and language; the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period in Britain between about 450 and 1066, after their initial settlement and up until the Norman conquest. The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including regional government of shires and hundreds. During this period, Christianity was established and there was a flowering of literature and language. Charters and law were established; the term Anglo-Saxon is popularly used for the language, spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England and eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. In scholarly use, it is more called Old English.
The history of the Anglo-Saxons is the history of a cultural identity. It developed from divergent groups in association with the people's adoption of Christianity, was integral to the establishment of various kingdoms. Threatened by extended Danish invasions and military occupation of eastern England, this identity was re-established; the visible Anglo-Saxon culture can be seen in the material culture of buildings, dress styles, illuminated texts and grave goods. Behind the symbolic nature of these cultural emblems, there are strong elements of tribal and lordship ties; the elite declared themselves as kings who developed burhs, identified their roles and peoples in Biblical terms. Above all, as Helena Hamerow has observed, "local and extended kin groups remained...the essential unit of production throughout the Anglo-Saxon period." The effects persist in the 21st century as, according to a study published in March 2015, the genetic makeup of British populations today shows divisions of the tribal political units of the early Anglo-Saxon period.
Use of the term Anglo-Saxon assumes that the words Angles, Saxons or Anglo-Saxon have the same meaning in all the sources. This term began to be used only in the 8th century to distinguish "Germanic" groups in Britain from those on the continent. Catherine Hills summarised the views of many modern scholars in her observation that attitudes towards Anglo-Saxons, hence the interpretation of their culture and history, have been "more contingent on contemporary political and religious theology as on any kind of evidence." The Old English ethnonym "Angul-Seaxan" comes from the Latin Angli-Saxones and became the name of the peoples Bede calls Anglorum and Gildas calls Saxones. Anglo-Saxon is a term, used by Anglo-Saxons themselves, it is they identified as ængli, Seaxe or, more a local or tribal name such as Mierce, Gewisse, Westseaxe, or Norþanhymbre. The use of Anglo-Saxon disguises the extent to which people identified as Anglo-Scandinavian after the Viking age, or as Anglo-Norman after the Norman conquest in 1066.
The earliest historical references using this term are from outside Britain, referring to piratical Germanic raiders,'Saxones' who attacked the shores of Britain and Gaul in the 3rd century AD. Procopius states that Britain was settled by three races: the Angiloi and Britons; the term Angli Saxones seems to have first been used in continental writing of the 8th century. The name therefore seemed to mean "English" Saxons; the Christian church seems to have used the word Angli. The terms ænglisc and Angelcynn were used by West Saxon King Alfred to refer to the people; the first use of the term Anglo-Saxon amongst the insular sources is in the titles for Athelstan: Angelsaxonum Denorumque gloriosissimus rex and rex Angulsexna and Norþhymbra imperator paganorum gubernator Brittanorumque propugnator. At other times he uses the term rex Anglorum, which meant both Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Alfred the Great used Anglosaxonum Rex; the term Engla cyningc is used by Æthelred. King Cnut in 1021 was the first to refer to the land and not the people with this term: ealles Englalandes cyningc.
These titles express the sense that the Anglo-Saxons were a Christian people with a king anointed by God. The indigenous Common Brittonic speakers referred to Anglo-Saxons as Saxones or Saeson. Catherine Hills suggests that it is no accident, "that the English call themselves by the name sanctified by the Church, as that of a people chosen by God, whereas their enemies use the name applied to piratical raiders"; the early Anglo-Saxon period covers the history of medieval Britain that starts from the end of Roman rul
Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th century, the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French; this is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English. Old English developed from a set of Anglo-Frisian or Ingvaeonic dialects spoken by Germanic tribes traditionally known as the Angles and Jutes; as the Anglo-Saxons became dominant in England, their language replaced the languages of Roman Britain: Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, Latin, brought to Britain by Roman invasion. Old English had four main dialects, associated with particular Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: Mercian, Northumbrian and West Saxon.
It was West Saxon that formed the basis for the literary standard of the Old English period, although the dominant forms of Middle and Modern English would develop from Mercian. The speech of eastern and northern parts of England was subject to strong Old Norse influence due to Scandinavian rule and settlement beginning in the 9th century. Old English is one of the West Germanic languages, its closest relatives are Old Frisian and Old Saxon. Like other old Germanic languages, it is different from Modern English and difficult for Modern English speakers to understand without study. Old English grammar is similar to that of modern German: nouns, adjectives and verbs have many inflectional endings and forms, word order is much freer; the oldest Old English inscriptions were written using a runic system, but from about the 9th century this was replaced by a version of the Latin alphabet. Englisc, which the term English is derived from, means'pertaining to the Angles'. In Old English, this word was derived from Angles.
During the 9th century, all invading Germanic tribes were referred to as Englisc. It has been hypothesised that the Angles acquired their name because their land on the coast of Jutland resembled a fishhook. Proto-Germanic *anguz had the meaning of'narrow', referring to the shallow waters near the coast; that word goes back to Proto-Indo-European *h₂enǵʰ- meaning'narrow'. Another theory is that the derivation of'narrow' is the more connection to angling, which itself stems from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning bend, angle; the semantic link is the fishing hook, curved or bent at an angle. In any case, the Angles may have been called such because they were a fishing people or were descended from such, therefore England would mean'land of the fishermen', English would be'the fishermen's language'. Old English was not static, its usage covered a period of 700 years, from the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain in the 5th century to the late 11th century, some time after the Norman invasion. While indicating that the establishment of dates is an arbitrary process, Albert Baugh dates Old English from 450 to 1150, a period of full inflections, a synthetic language.
Around 85 per cent of Old English words are no longer in use, but those that survived are basic elements of Modern English vocabulary. Old English is a West Germanic language, it came to be spoken over most of the territory of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which became the Kingdom of England. This included most of present-day England, as well as part of what is now southeastern Scotland, which for several centuries belonged to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Other parts of the island – Wales and most of Scotland – continued to use Celtic languages, except in the areas of Scandinavian settlements where Old Norse was spoken. Celtic speech remained established in certain parts of England: Medieval Cornish was spoken all over Cornwall and in adjacent parts of Devon, while Cumbric survived to the 12th century in parts of Cumbria, Welsh may have been spoken on the English side of the Anglo-Welsh border. Norse was widely spoken in the parts of England which fell under Danish law. Anglo-Saxon literacy developed after Christianisation in the late 7th century.
The oldest surviving text of Old English literature is Cædmon's Hymn, composed between 658 and 680. There is a limited corpus of runic inscriptions from the 5th to 7th centuries, but the oldest coherent runic texts date to the 8th century; the Old English Latin alphabet was introduced around the 9th century. With the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms by Alfred the Great in the 9th century, the language of government and literature became standardised around the West Saxon dialect. Alfred advocated education in English alongside Latin, had many works translated into the English language. In Old English, typical of the development of literature, poetry arose before prose, but King Alfred the Great chiefly inspired the growth of prose. A literary standard, dating from the 10th century, arose under the influence of Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester, was followed by such writers as the prolific Ælfric of Eynsham. Th
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent; the island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, verdant landscape of fields and chines. The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes, it has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event held, it has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe. The isle was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies The British Crown was represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995.
The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890, it continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed; until 1995 the island had a governor. The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea. During the last Ice Age, sea levels were lower and the Solent was part of a river flowing south east from current day Poole Harbour towards mid-Channel.
As sea levels rose, the river valley became flooded, the chalk ridge line west of the Needles breached to form the island. The Isle of Wight is first mentioned in writing in Geography by Ptolemy. Bronze Age Britain had large reserves of tin in the areas of Cornwall and Devon and tin is necessary to smelt bronze. At that time the sea level was much lower and carts of tin were brought across the Solent at low tide for export on the Ferriby Boats. Anthony Snodgrass suggests that a shortage of tin, as a part of the Bronze Age Collapse and trade disruptions in the Mediterranean around 1300 BC, forced metalworkers to seek an alternative to bronze. During Iron Age Britain, the Late Iron Age, the Isle of Wight would appear to have been occupied by the Celtic tribe, the Durotriges - as attested by finds of their coins, for example, the South Wight Hoard, the Shalfleet Hoard. South eastern Britain experienced significant immigration, reflected in the genetic makeup of the current residents; as the Iron Age began the value of tin dropped and this greatly changed the economy of the Isle of Wight.
Trade however continued. Julius Caesar reported that the Belgae took the Isle of Wight in about 85 BC, recognised the culture of this general region as "Belgic", but made no reference to Vectis; the Roman historian Suetonius mentions. The Romans built no towns on the island, but the remains of at least seven Roman villas have been found, indicating the prosperity of local agriculture. First-century exports were principally hides, hunting dogs, cattle, silver and iron. Ferriby Boats and Blackfriars Ships were important to the local economy. During the Dark Ages the island was settled by Jutes as the pagan kingdom of Wihtwara under King Arwald. In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla. In 686 Arwald was defeated and the island became the last part of English lands to be converted to Christianity, added to Wessex and becoming part of England under King Alfred the Great, included within the shire of Hampshire, it suffered from Viking raids, was used as a winter base by Viking raiders when they were unable to reach Normandy.
Both Earl Tostig and his brother Harold Godwinson held manors on the island. Starting in AD 449 the 5th and 6th centuries saw groups of Germanic speaking peoples from Northern Europe crossing the English Channel and setting up home. Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum identifies three separate groups of invaders: of these, the Jutes from Denmark settled the Isle of Wight and Kent. From onwards, there are indications that the island had wide trading links, with a port at Bouldnor, evidence of Bronze Age tin trading, finds of Late Iron Age coins; the Norman Conquest of 1066 created the position of Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. Allegiance was sworn to FitzOsbern rather than the king. For nearly 200 years the island
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great. Multiple copies were made of that one original and distributed to monasteries across England, where they were independently updated. In one case, the Chronicle was still being updated in 1154. Nine manuscripts survive in whole or in part, though not all are of equal historical value and none of them is the original version; the oldest seems to have been started towards the end of Alfred's reign, while the most recent was written at Peterborough Abbey after a fire at that monastery in 1116. All of the material in the Chronicle is in the form of annals, by year; these manuscripts collectively are known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The Chronicle is not unbiased: there are occasions when comparison with other medieval sources makes it clear that the scribes who wrote it omitted events or told one-sided versions of stories.
Taken as a whole, the Chronicle is the single most important historical source for the period in England between the departure of the Romans and the decades following the Norman conquest. Much of the information given in the Chronicle is not recorded elsewhere. In addition, the manuscripts are important sources for the history of the English language. Seven of the nine surviving manuscripts and fragments now reside in the British Library; the remaining two are in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. All of the surviving manuscripts are copies, so it is not known for certain where or when the first version of the Chronicle was composed, it is agreed that the original version – sometimes known as the Early English Annals – was written in the late 9th century by a scribe in Wessex. Frank Stenton argued from internal evidence that it was first compiled for a secular, but not royal, patron. After the original Chronicle was compiled, copies were distributed to various monasteries.
Additional copies were made, for further distribution or to replace lost manuscripts, some copies were updated independently of each other. Some of these copies are those that have survived; the earliest extant manuscript, the Parker Chronicle, was written by a single scribe up to the year 891. The scribe wrote DCCCXCII, in the margin of the next line; this appears to place the composition of the chronicle at no than 892. It is known, it is difficult to fix the date of composition, but it is thought that the chronicles were composed during the reign of Alfred the Great, as Alfred deliberately tried to revive learning and culture during his reign, encouraged the use of English as a written language. The Chronicle, as well as the distribution of copies to other centres of learning, may be a consequence of the changes Alfred introduced. Of the nine surviving manuscripts, seven are written in Old English. One, known as the Bilingual Canterbury Epitome, is in Old English with a translation of each annal into Latin.
Another, the Peterborough Chronicle, is in Old English except for the last entry, in early Middle English. The oldest is known as the Winchester Chronicle or the Parker Chronicle, is written in the Mercian dialect until 1070 Latin to 1075. Six of the manuscripts were printed in an 1861 edition for the Rolls Series by Benjamin Thorpe with the text laid out in columns labelled A to F, he included the few readable remnants of a burned seventh manuscript, which he referred to as destroyed in a fire at Ashburnham House in 1731. Following this convention, the two additional manuscripts are called and; the known surviving manuscripts are listed below. The manuscripts are all thought to derive from a common original, but the connections between the texts are more complex than simple inheritance via copying; the diagram at right gives an overview of the relationships between the manuscripts. The following is a summary of the relationships. Was a copy of, made in Winchester between 1001 and 1013. was used in the compilation of at Abingdon, in the mid-11th century.
However, the scribe for had access to another version, which has not survived. Includes material from Bede's Ecclesiastical History written by 731 and from a set of 8th-century Northumbrian annals and is thought to have been copied from a northern version that has not survived. Has material that appears to derive from the same sources as but does not include some additions that appear only in, such as the Mercian Register; this manuscript was composed at the monastery in Peterborough, some time after a fire th
Kingdom of Sussex
The Kingdom of the South Saxons, today referred to as the Kingdom of Sussex, was one of the seven traditional kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. On the south coast of the island of Great Britain, it was a sixth century Saxon colony and an independent kingdom; the South Saxons were ruled by the kings of Sussex until the country was annexed by Wessex in 827, in the aftermath of the Battle of Ellandun. The Kingdom of Sussex had its initial focus in a territory based on the former kingdom and Romano-British civitas of the Regnenses and its boundaries coincided in general with those of the county of Sussex. For a brief period in the 7th century, the Kingdom of Sussex controlled the Isle of Wight and the territory of the Meonwara in the Meon Valley in east Hampshire. From the late 8th century, Sussex seems to have absorbed the Kingdom of the Haestingas, after the region was conquered by the Mercian king Offa. A large part of its territory was covered by the forest that took its name from the fort of Anderitum at modern Pevensey, known to the Romano-British as the Forest of Andred and to the Saxons as Andredsleah or Andredsweald, known today as the Weald.
This forest, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, was 30 miles deep. It was the largest remaining area of woodland and heath in the territories that became England and was inhabited by wolves and bears, it was so dense. The forested Weald made expansion difficult but provided some protection from invasion by neighbouring kingdoms. Whilst Sussex's isolation from the rest of Anglo-Saxon England has been emphasised, Roman roads must have remained important communication arteries across the forest of the Weald; the Weald was not the only area of Sussex, forested in Saxon times--for example, at the western end of Sussex is the Manhood Peninsula, which in the modern era is deforested, but the name is derived from the Old English maene-wudu meaning "men's wood" or "common wood" indicating that it was once woodland. The coastline would have looked different from today. Much of the alluvium in the river plains had not yet been deposited and the tidal river estuaries extended much further inland, it is estimated.
Before people reclaimed the tidal marshes in the 13th century the coastal plain contained extensive areas of sea water in the form of lagoons, salt marsh, wide inlets and peninsulas. To the South Saxons of the 5th and 6th centuries this coastline must have resembled their original homeland between coastal Friesland, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein; the landscape gave rise to some key regional differences within the kingdom. The rich coastal plain continued to be the base for the large estates, ruled by their thegns, some of whom had their boundaries confirmed by charters; the Downs were more deserted. South Saxon impact was greatest in the Weald. Along the north scarp of the Downs runs a series of parishes with land evenly distributed across the different soils to their northern boundaries. In the early mediaeval period, the rivers of Sussex may have acted locally as a major unifier, linking coastal and riverside communities and providing people in these areas with a sense of identity; the boundaries of the Kingdom of Sussex crystallised around the 6th and 7th centuries.
To the west, Bede describes the boundary with the Kingdom of Wessex as being opposite the Isle of Wight, which fell on the River Ems. It is possible that the Jutish territories of the Isle of Wight and the Meon Valley in modern Hampshire acted as a buffer zone between the Saxon kingdoms of Sussex and Wessex until they were conquered by the Mercian king Wulfhere and passed to King Aethelwealh of Sussex in the 7th century. To the east at Romney Marsh and the River Limen, Sussex shared a border with the Kingdom of Kent. North of the Forest Ridge in the Wealden forest lay the sub-kingdom of Surrey, which became a frontier area disputed by various kingdoms until it became part of Wessex. To the south of Sussex lay the English Channel, beyond which lay Francia, or the Kingdom of the Franks. By the 680s, when Christianity was being introduced, there is no doubt that the district around Selsey and Chichester had become the political centre of the kingdom, though there is little archaeological evidence for a reoccupation of Chichester itself before the 9th century.
The capital of the Kingdom of Sussex was at Chichester, the seat of the kingdom's bishopric was at Selsey. The traditional residence of the South Saxon kings was at Kingsham, once outside the southern walls of Chichester although within its modern boundaries. Ditchling may have been an important regional centre for a large part of central Sussex between the Rivers Adur and Ouse until the founding of Lewes in the 9th century. By the 11th century the towns were developments of the fortified towns founded in the reign of Alfred the Great; the ancient droveways of Sussex linked coastal and downland communities in the south with summer pasture land in the interior of the Weald. The droveways were used throughout the Saxon era by the South Saxons and originated before the Roman occupation of Britain; the droveways formed a road system that suggests that the settlers in the oldest developed parts of Sussex were concerned not so much with east–west connections between neighbouring settlements as with north–south communication between each settlement and its outlying woodland pastur
Cynegils was King of Wessex from c. 611 to c. 642. Cynegils is traditionally considered to have been King of Wessex, but the familiar kingdoms of the so-called Heptarchy had not yet formed from the patchwork of smaller kingdoms in his lifetime; the kingdom of Wessex was centred on the counties of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire, but the evidence of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is that the kingdom of Cynegils was located on the upper River Thames, extending into northern Wiltshire and Somerset, southern Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, western Berkshire, with Dorchester-on-Thames as one of the major royal sites. This region connected to the early tribal grouping known as the Gewisse, a term used by Bede for the West Saxons, lay on the frontier between the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia, it appears that Cynegils became king on the death of King Ceolwulf c. 611. His relationship to Ceolwulf is uncertain. Cynegils is variously described in West Saxon sources as being a son of Ceolwulf, a son of Ceol brother of Ceolwulf, a son of Ceola son of Cutha, a son of Cuthwine son of Ceawlin, a son of Cuthwulf son of Cuthwine.
Several of the sources give Cynegils a brother named Ceolwald, described as the grandfather of King Ine. Although the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Wessex king lists portray the West Saxons as ruled by a single king, it is that the kingship was shared between two or more kings; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 611 states: "This year Cynegils succeeded to the government in Wessex, held it one and thirty winters. Cynegils was the son of Ceol, Ceol of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric." Contradicting this simple account, the entry under 614 states that "This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at Beandun, slew two thousand and forty-six of the Welsh." Bede writes that the attempted assassination of King Edwin of Northumbria in 626 was ordered by Cwichelm, king of the West Saxons. Whether the King Cwichelm of 614 is the same person as the king of the late 620s, whether this person is the same as the Cwichelm, baptised, died, c. 636, is disputed. Some historians presume Cwichelm to have been a son of Cynegils.
In 628, Cynegils and Cwichelm fought King Penda at Cirencester. The Chronicle could be expected to report a victory, but does not, so it is that Penda was the victor. Cynegils and Cwichelm appear to have been subject to Edwin of Northumbria by this time, paying an enormous tribute of a hundred thousand hides if Nick Higham's conception of the Tribal Hidage's origins is correct. In the 630s, Bishop Birinus established himself at Dorchester, both Cynegils and Cwichelm are said to have been baptised with King Oswald of Northumbria as their godfather. Another West Saxon king, named Cuthred, who died c. 661, appears at this time. Oswald married a daughter of Cynegils at this time, her name is not recorded in early sources. This mission appears to have made little long-term impact as Cynegils' son Cenwalh was not baptised until 646, according to the Chronicle, after having been driven from his kingdom by Penda; the date of Cynegils' death is not known. Bede states. Different versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle give 643 for the year of Cenwalh's accession.
Many texts follow Dumville, assuming that these variations both represent scribal deviations from 642, which would conform with the stated reign length of 31 years. As well as Cenwalh, the daughter who married Oswald, Cynegils is said to have had a son named Cwichelm, who may or may not be the same person as the king associated with Cynegils, it is said that King Centwine was a son of Cynegils, but there is strong circumstantial evidence that this identification was a invention. House of Wessex family tree Cynegils 1 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England Royal Berkshire History: Cynegils, King of Wessex
The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. The term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Roman Empire, who commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine, they imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, still they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire. Although the Frankish name does not appear until the 3rd century, at least some of the original Frankish tribes had long been known to the Romans under their own names, both as allies providing soldiers and as enemies; the new name first appears when their allies were losing control of the Rhine region. The Franks were first reported as working together to raid Roman territory, but from the beginning these raids were associated with attacks upon them from outside their frontier area, by the Saxons, for example, with the desire of frontier tribes to move into Roman territory with which they had had centuries of close contact.
Frankish peoples inside Rome's frontier on the Rhine river were the Salian Franks who from their first appearance were permitted to live in Roman territory, the Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks who, after many attempts conquered the Roman frontier city of Cologne and took control of the left bank of the Rhine. In a period of factional conflict in the 450s and 460s, Childeric I, a Frank, was one of several military leaders commanding Roman forces with various ethnic affiliations in Roman Gaul. Childeric and his son Clovis I faced competition from the Roman Aegidius as competitor for the "kingship" of the Franks associated with the Roman Loire forces; this new type of kingship inspired by Alaric I, represents the start of the Merovingian dynasty, which succeeded in conquering most of Gaul in the 6th century, as well as establishing its leadership over all the Frankish kingdoms on the Rhine frontier. It was on the basis of this Merovingian empire that the resurgent Carolingians came to be seen as the new Emperors of Western Europe in 800.
In the Middle Ages, the term Frank came to be used as a synonym for Western European, as the Carolingian Franks were rulers of most of Western Europe, established a political order, the basis of the European ancien regime that only ended with the French revolution. Western Europeans shared their allegiance to the Roman Catholic church and worked as allies in the Crusades beyond Europe in the Levant, where they still referred to themselves and the Principalities they established as Frankish; this has had a lasting impact on names for Western Europeans in many languages. From the beginning the Frankish kingdoms were politically and divided between an eastern Frankish and Germanic part, the western part that the Merovingians had founded on Roman soil; the eastern Frankish kingdom came to be seen as the new "Holy Roman Empire", was from early times called "Germany". Within "Frankish" Western Europe itself, it was the original Merovingian or "Salian" Western Frankish kingdom, founded in Roman Gaul and speaking Romance languages, which has continued until today to be referred to as "France" - a name derived directly from the Franks.
The name Franci was not a tribal name, but within a few centuries it had eclipsed the names of the original peoples who constituted it. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the English adjective "frank" meaning "free". There have been proposals that Frank comes from the Germanic word for "javelin". Words in other Germanic languages meaning "fierce", "bold" or "insolent", may be significant. Eumenius addressed the Franks in the matter of the execution of Frankish prisoners in the circus at Trier by Constantine I in 306 and certain other measures: Latin: Ubi nunc est illa ferocia? Ubi semper infida mobilitas?. Latin: Feroces was used to describe the Franks. Contemporary definitions of Frankish ethnicity vary both by point of view. A formulary written by Marculf about 700 AD described a continuation of national identities within a mixed population when it stated that "all the peoples who dwell, Romans and those of other nations, live... according to their law and their custom."
Writing in 2009, Professor Christopher Wickham pointed out that "the word'Frankish' ceased to have an exclusive ethnic connotation. North of the River Loire everyone seems to have been considered a Frank by the mid-7th century at the latest. Apart from the more respected History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours, two more colourful early sources that describe the origin of the Franks are a 7th-century work known as the Chronicle of Fredegar and the anonymous Liber Historiae Francorum, written a century later; the author of the Chronicle of Fredegar claimed that the Franks came from Troy and quoted the works of Vergil and Hieronymous, the Franks are mentioned in those works, by Hieronymous. The chronicle describes Priam as a Frankish king whose people migrated to Macedonia after the fall of Troy. In Macedonia, the Franks divided; the Eur